CSI: Hard Evidence
First posted on 01 March 2011. Last updated on 19 January 2013.
CSI: Hard Evidence (also known as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Hard Evidence) is the fifth installment of the CSI game series based on the popular television crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, starring the original cast of characters from the series—Gil Grissom, Sara Sidle, Nick Stokes, Warrick Brown, Catherine Willows, Greg Sanders, Jim Brass, and Al Robbins. This is the second CSI game to be developed by Telltale Games, following CSI: 3 Dimensions of Murder. The game maintains the same basic formula of the previous games in the series, featuring 5 gruesome crime cases which are loosely interconnected. Once more, the player takes on the role of a rookie agent in the game, working alongside with other members of the CSI team to solve these cases.
CSI: Hard Evidence features 5 cases to solve:
Case 1—Burning for You: A cab driver is found badly burnt in his own cab in an alley. The player works with Nick Stokes to solve the case.
Case 2—Double Down: A woman is stabbed repeatedly by an intruder. The player works with Catherine Willows to solve the case.
Case 3—Shock Rock: A rock band is electrocuted to death during a rehearsal. The player works with Warrick Brown to solve the case.
Case 4—In Your Eyes: A respected eye surgeon is brutally bludgeoned in his own house. The player works with Greg Sanders to solve the case.
Case 5—Peacemaker : A shootout in a Wild West museum leaves a man dead. The player works with Gil Grissom to solve the case.
In each of the cases, the player also works with Jim Brass to obtain search and arrest warrants as well as Al Robbins to identify the victims and their causes of death.
As before, a large multitude of forensic tools (both for Evidence Collection and for Evidence Detection) are available to the player to conduct the crime scene investigation. Tools for Evidence Collection include Swab, Glove, Tweezers, Casting Plaster and Frame, Mikrosil, Adhesive Tape, Adhesive Specimen Mount, and Camera. Tools for Evidence Detection include Flashlight, Fingerprint Powder, Magnetic Powder, Ninhydrin, Ultraviolet Light, USB Data Drive, LCV (Leuko Crystal Violet), and Luminol.
The game uses a typical point and click interface. To interact with an object or a character, the player clicks with the left mouse button. If an object can be selected, the cursor changes to a green color. If a character can be questioned, the cursor changes to a speech bubble.
The graphics in this game have improved greatly and are much better than the graphics in previous games of the series. The crime scenes look more realistic. The characters also do not look a bit bad, though lip synchronization is terrible. The video cut scenes that are played when the player travels between the different locations are blurry.
The tutorial in CSI: Hard Evidence is much better scripted and useful when compared to the tutorial in CSI: 3 Dimensions of Murder. Now, the tutorial guides the player on how to collect and process evidence, obtain a warrant, and interrogate a suspect.
The game follows a bit more closely to the protocols and procedures of crime scene investigation that are practiced in real life. Each piece of evidence collected in the crime scene is documented with a number tag in the same order as it is being found. A crime scene diagram showing the locations of the tags is available in the case file. The player uses a PDA to select a location, review a case file, or access the game options. The new user interface is better and friendlier than those in previous titles.
Evidence analysis and comparison now include more options for searching for possible matches, unlike previous titles in the series. Even the lab looks a lot better and more realistic.
The game provides a bit more freedom for the player to investigate a scene. Though the player still cannot move about freely, the player has now pan around the scene. Thoroughness Points, a new feature, are now awarded to the player even if the area that the player searches yields no evidence. These points are part of the final performance evaluation.
Compared to the cases in CSI: 3 Dimensions of Murder, all of the cases in CSI: Hard Evidence are more or less sex crimes. The game is undoubtedly aimed for a mature audience. Some of the dialogs and a few of the scenes in the game are not suitable for a younger audience. The cases are mostly interesting to solve, though the fourth case is a bit loose and the motive for murder is not that strong. The dialogs are also not that well written.
In several scenes, the player can interact with musical instruments such as a piano and a keyboard. When the player plays the instrument, a nice tune is played.
Unlike CSI: 3 Dimensions of Murder, there is bonus material that can be unlocked in CSI: Hard Evidence. Bonus material can be unlocked by achieving the highest ranking "Master" after solving the case. This requires the player to secure all the evidence, collect all the insects, avoid any hints, and process perfectly all the crime scenes. The bonus material includes trailers as well as concept art and storyboard for the cases. To view the bonus material, the player visits the hospital morgue, opens the cold storage door where the body is stored, and clicks on the body. The bonus material also shows the insects that can be collected while investigating the cases.
Overall, CSI: Hard Evidence is another worthy sequel in the long running CSI series. Fans of CSI will enjoy working alongside with their favorite CSI characters in solving the gruesome crime cases.